First, a brief introduction of myself. I am working in the Equity Research department as a research associate in a regional institutional broker, covering ASEAN offshore/marine and consumer stocks.
Before the current role, I worked in a back office non-finance function. Close to the end of 2009, I got to know SV and joined its first publicity event. By then I have passed three levels of CFA exams. I became a student associate, ie part time intern, for an analyst of a hedge fund. For the following year, I collected sector data from various sources of street reports and compiled them into tabulated factsheets, from which the analyst can quickly grasp sector knowledge and thus make investment decisions.
I was later referred to my current firm on a part time basis to assist my current boss in collecting company background information (it was more fundamental) from various sources including annual reports, exchange announcements, IR presentation slides and sometimes street reports as well. I compiled these into a standardized document which included all the key aspects that one investor must know. I was doing that for about half a year before I was offered a full time position.
Given that there are some internship opportunities offered today via SV, you might wonder what you can learn in the internship. Baseline – opportunities to work for great people in the investment industry. People are busy with their own work and are rarely willing to offer their time to teach an intern basic stuff. SV offers a great privilege to interact with these great people, knowing what they are doing, and expanding knowledge beyond the CFA curriculum. These are all fundamental steps to prepare well for that opportunity. Yet, don’t harbour the mindset that it is an entitlement to full-time opportunities. If one is doing well and get recognized, opportunity will eventually come.
Key things to take note in the internship:
1) Align your expectation with your boss’. Know how much detail is needed in the task and the expected outcome. This is indeed very important in my day-to-day work life a well. There are always action items in the pipeline. Meeting the target is the first priority. Overwork is common in our school life where one tends to impress professor to score high rates. Too much detail may not be needed and it could be wasting your boss’/client time to read what you have done. It is a known fact that fund managers and analysts are short of time and already flooded with all sources of information.
But 2) that doesn’t mean you should only stick to what you are asked to do. In fact any sort of value-add job is welcomed and it is actually an unspoken rule. Keep on thinking how your findings can value add to your boss’ job and communicate your points concisely and best in an interesting way so that they can digest it and appreciate your help quickly. This is one of the most important learning points in my day-to-day work when I need to prepare stock commentaries and face the challenge of making the note short and punchy for investors to pick up and read.